Dunlap: Panic? Not Just Yet


So I’m supposed to be panicked. At least that is what everyone is saying on this Monday morning.

It’s all over, it’s all done. Why even play the rest of the season out? I mean, there is no chance, right?

I apparently and allegedly need to be in a place in my head where terror, anxiety, fretfulness and fear are the only thoughts that I’m allowed to feel.

I have to believe this is all over. Done, kaput. Forget it. Ship has sailed and all of that sort of thing.

I guess the pervasive thought is that this Penguins team stinks.

I can’t go there … yet.

This team has problems, to be sure. And they might be many right now.

Mike Tomlin would not think any arrow is pointing up for this hockey team “at this juncture.”


They permit more odd-man rushes than Chancellorsville, they have a goaltending situation that isn’t fully rectified, they can’t find their way on the power play, they get too cute at times, they need to muster some depth scoring and, oh yes, the superstars have to play as such.

We forget anything? Surely we probably did.

All that is true. But so are these facts:

There are 14 regular-season games remaining and this team still is in position to earn a playoff spot. On top of that --- as we have seen in the past --- they have guys in Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby who can go on meteoric runs wherein they lift the team on their back and jolt them to the highest highs.

That could all still happen this season.

I know what you are thinking, right? Why is some guy telling us after the Penguins were outscored 11-4 on home ice this past weekend that they are going to be OK?

Why are you so positive after the Pens were embarrassed --- twice --- on what should have been a glorious hockey weekend in the ‘Burgh?

Well, it isn’t that I’m overly positive. It is probably more this: The Stanley Cup Playoffs, to me at least, provide the biggest “just get in and anything can happen” proposition in any postseason. There are so many variables involved, chief of which is which goalie on which team can see his play strike a match and carry a team.

We have seen that in the postseason in the past from Matt Murray.

We have seen that in a span this regular season from Tristan Jarry.

I’m not saying or predicting either of those things will happen when the season transforms into the postseason for the Penguins. But in early-March last season, did anyone really think a guy named Jordan Binnington would steal the show in the playoffs? Doubtful.

Right now, I’m not so certain the Pittsburgh Penguins have what it takes to make a deep run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs unless they get a ton of things fixed. They are all fixable, but they must get them fixed. In a hurry, too.

But I’ll tell you what I am certain about right now --- it’s a gross overreaction to pronounce the Penguins dead on March 9th even after two terrible losses and a dreadful run over the past 10 games. 

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